Rotator Cuff… or Cup? What it is called and what can I do about shoulder pain?
I get asked this question often by patients who have shoulder pain.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles surrounding the shoulder joint and attaching to the shoulder blade.
These four muscles help us complete numerous tasks throughout our lives and nearly every hour that we are awake.
Pain from this area can be felt locally on the shoulder blade, top of the shoulders, or even radiate down into the middle of the upper arm. The reasons for pain can come from a variety of issues. Sometimes overuse can lead to inflammation and possibly impingement. In these cases, acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine can be greatly beneficial in treating both the root cause and the symptomatic pain.
Until you are able to get in to see your acupuncturist, there are some things you can do at home:
-Heat or ice therapy. I typically recommend ice in the first 48 hours or if there is redness and swelling. After that, use heat.
-Pain patches. Many varieties are available over the counter. The ones that I recommend and use with my patients are based on Chinese herbal formulas.
-Strengthen. Once inflammation has decreased, it may be time to start strengthening the rotator cuff muscles.
Come see us at Wild Hearts for acupuncture, herbal medicine, bodywork, naturopathy, physical therapy, and movement classes!
Britanie Kessler, LAc. is a licensed acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner at Wild Hearts Wellness in Portland, OR.